“Let’s be clear, if you’re even thinking about committing a hate crime, if you dare to raise your hand against a member of our Asian communities, you will suffer the consequences. We have the strongest efforts in this country to fight hate crimes. The NYPD is focused like never before on finding anyone who commits a hate crime and making sure they suffer the penalties they deserve for what they’ve done.”
That was the warning issued by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday, Feb. 23 in response to the rising number of reported violent hate incidents against Asian-Americans across the city.
De Blasio’s daily press briefing also focused on the city’s efforts to curb the rising violence against the Asian American community.
“Now, every community suffered, but there’s been a particular pain, a particular horrible challenge faced by the Asian-American community. Because on top of all the suffering from the coronavirus itself, on top of losing loved ones, losing businesses, people have had to confront horrible discrimination and hatred. From the very beginning, even before we had a single case in New York City, Asian American communities were suffering discrimination, Asian American businesses saw their customers no longer come,” he said.
The mayor assured that the NYPD is “focused like never before” on finding anyone who commits a hate crime and making sure they suffer the penalties they deserve for what they’ve done. He also mentioned the NYPD’s Asian Hate Crime Task Force, which is working closely with communities, the Office for Preventing Hate Crimes and other City agencies, and the City Human Rights Commission.
The NYPD put together a specific group of officers from Asian communities who speak languages and dialects from multiple communities to help in all aspects of an investigation.
“We have 25 of the best Asian-American detectives in the world, speaking 11 different languages. These detectives have the background and skillset to effectively help the Asian Americans living here in New York City,” said Deputy Inspector Stewart Loo, Commanding Officers of the Asian Hate Crimes Task Force. “The task force is here and we are here to guarantee there’s a strong appropriate response to the hate that’s infecting our city.”
City officials are encouraging all New Yorkers to get involved in efforts to stop hatred against Asian communities. A website (nyc.gov/stopasianhate) has been set up to let people know about what they can do to help or report an attack or a bias crime and learn about the efforts that are being made all over the city.
Inspector Loo said that there were 28 reported incidents of COVID-related hate crimes against Asians last year; they had three in 2019 and for 2021, they have received two.
Out of the 28 incidents, they have made 18 arrests.
“Of course, we’d like to have 28 out of 28, but most of the investigation are still active. Out of the pending 28 arrests that we made they’re in criminal court, in their respective boroughs. So, we’re working very closely with the Hate Crimes Division of the respective DA’s offices to maximize those charges and bring the best investigation forward to prosecute these criminals,” Loo said.
Rep. Grace Meng, who was part of the briefing, thanked other communities of color for their support.
“That allyship is incredibly welcome and meaningful. Here in New York, we recently saw cases of hate incidents, from the Filipino man who was slashed across the face on the New York subway to the Asian American in my district who was violently shoved to the ground,” Meng said.
Noel Quintana is the Filipino man Meng mentioned. He was on the L train from Brooklyn on his way to work when his face was slashed.
“Although Donald Trump is no longer in office, his past anti-Asian rhetoric and use of terms like Chinese virus, kung flu continues to threaten the safety of our community in New York and around the country. So many Asian-Americans literally live in fear and are afraid to leave their homes because they don’t know what might happen to them,” Meng added.